The buzz around the Game of Thrones fandom this week is on full volume as we near the finale of Season 6. And what a season it’s been, mostly filled with long-awaited retribution. We gave a hefty helping of good riddance to the likes of the Boltons, the treasonous brothers of the Night’s Watch and that horrid Waif in Braavos. It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. We’ve lost some amiable characters, too, as per usual. Perhaps the saddest of all, however, is Rickon Stark, the youngest of Ned and Catelyn’s children.
House Stark is certainly no stranger to tragedy. Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Talisa and Rickon have all been ruthlessly murdered. Even the remaining Starks have had their share of crap. Sansa, married twice into two families that betrayed her own, has been abused by a king and a sadistic lord seven ways to Sunday. Arya was (temporarily) stricken blind and has escaped death to the point of bewilderment. Bran, crippled from the very first episode, has narrowly escaped the clutches of the Night’s King a couple of times. Then Jon, though only half-Stark, has freaking died and been resurrected. It seems like this poor family has been hexed or something. Figures it’s the one family in the Seven Kingdoms that is trying so very hard to remain moral and reasonable, often to their own detriment.
In Season 1 Episode 1, Winter is Coming, we witness Lord Eddard Stark and his family receiving King Robert Baratheon and his family at the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell. All members of the family stand out to be acknowledged by the king, though Jon, being a bastard, stands in the second row beside Theon Greyjoy. When King Robert approaches the family he exchanges banter with his old friend Ned. Afterwards he greets each (legitimate) member of the family. As he does so he touches them on the head, arm, etc. Well, he doesn’t touch all of them.
He hugs Ned.
He hugs Catelyn.
He musses Rickon’s hair.
He shakes Robb’s hand.
He passes over Sansa without a word or contact.
He speaks to Arya though doesn’t touch her.
He does the same with Bran–speaks but doesn’t touch.
And obviously, Jon the bastard is completely ignored. To be fair, he is in the second row.
Touched: Ned, Catelyn, Rickon, Robb
Not touched: Sansa, Arya, Bran, Jon
Dead Starks: Ned, Catelyn, Rickon, Robb
Living Starks: Sansa, Arya, Bran, Jon
Well, shit. So can we expect, if this theory holds, that no more Starks will bite the dust? Or is there further meaning in the fact that King Robert did speak to Arya and Bran? Lord only knows. It’s most likely just a crazy coincidence. Regardless, this is a badass Easter egg, accurate or not. Truthfully, we doubt King Robert intentionally hexed his best friend.
Or did he?
The season finale, The Winds of Winter, airs Sunday, June 26 on HBO.